Visiting Biblical Places in Rome

Trip Start May 22, 2011
Trip End Jun 03, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A scheduled tour of the Vatican started us early today requiring us to leave the hotel at 7 a.m. But, wow! Was it ever woth it! Our independent tour began BEFORE the Vatican was open to the public. Our tour group scampered immediately to the Sistine Chapel, which we were among less than 100 people to admire at this time. It is glorious! It is such a magnificent work of art. Our guide took great pains to explain so many details of the paintings, and then also as we moved through the Vatican Museum. As our group had to go back through the Sistine Chapel to exit, and by now it was open to the public, there were at least 1,200 people in it - and I'm sure their tour was not nearly as rewarding. I'll give one thing to the Popes - they know how to collect remarkable artwork, even if it is sometimes by pillaging and stealing.

After we exited the Museum we wanted to go into St. Peter's Basilica. But the admittance line was literally a mile long with nearly 2,000 people in line! Our guide had given us a lot of information about it also, and we explored it on the outside, but the interior will have to wait until our next trip.

Next stop was the Basilica di San Paulo, which holds Paul's sarcophagus and the chains that bound him while he was in prison, both of which are on display. Paul is one of my favorite Biblical writers, so this was especially satisfying to me. And the church in his honor is amazing - very large, open spaces with probably 30 large, 30' tall columns.

A Metro across town and Madison and I stepped out of the station to the street. And there, right in front of us, was the Colosseo, larger than life. But our visit would have to wait a couple of hours because we were headed down the street to Mamertine Prison, which is where Paul and Peter were dropped through the 18" wide hole in the floor to their prison cell - dark, damp, chained to a center pillar with little water and food, before they were to be beheaded and crucified. Such a flood of emotion as we reflected on how important both men were to the church, yet how they were tortured.

Returning to the Colesseo we were ready for our scheduled tour, including the recently opened dungeons and 3rd level. Again, a magnificent work, especially when you think of the engineering behind it nearly 2,000 years ago.

Madison and I enjoyed our last Italian dinner before heading to the airport and our current adventure - sleeping in the airport! We have a 6:30 a.m. flight to Athens and there aren't any lodging options close to the airport that match our transportation needs so early. The airport is deserted, and it's clean so it shouldn't be a problem. But we'll find out in the morning .....
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Janice on

Pleasant dreams! Just be glad you're at the airport instead of Paul and Peter's place . . . .

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